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What is clash of values?

Updated: 10/26/2022
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6y ago

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As a very simplistic example, let's say that I value book-learning, but you value first-hand experiences. We could each try to persuade each other to change our points of view and to accept each other's "value" as being more important than what we each value. But, if neither of us can persuade the other, and neither of us choose to at least understand each other's values, a "clash of values" could occur. You might campaign for more young adults to participate in volunteerism or overseas travel opportunities, while I might campaign for more monies for high schools and libraries. If we perceive our own values as being more important than the other person's, conflict could erupt.

Clashes of values often occur on a larger scale. Instead of a conflict between 2 persons, as in my example, the differences might be between countries, religious groups, or even political groups. One of the most well-known value clash from the 1970s to the present is the debate and argument between "Pro Life" or "Pro Choice", with each group holding strong values and beliefs about abortion. A similar example is the "Right to Die" versus "Sactity of Life, regardless of condition or prognosis." The news carries other examples of personal and societal "value clashes" every day.

So to recap, a "clash of values" has certain characteristics:

  • One, a strongly held conviction or belief (a value)
  • Two, an unwillingness or inability to reconcile other people's values with our own
  • Three, an unwillingness or inability to accept that another person's values may be just as valid as our own
  • And, fourth, the desire and willingness to "fight" for the "rightness" of our value against all others; the inability to draw upon other people's beliefs, opinions, and values with the idea that their values are just as important as our own
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Jamison Bechtelar

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